Social Reciprocity

Dr Laura Mraz and social reciprocity

What is it? “Social reciprocity is the back-and-forth flow of social interaction” (ASBC, 2018). 

Why is it important? Social reciprocity is necessary for forming and sustaining meaningful relationships. It is also a skill necessary for participation in occupations across the lifetime, such as: 

  • Mealtime (social aspects of eating a meal with others) 
  • Academic performance (responding to and asking questions in class, interacting with teachers and peers) 
  • Play and leisure activities (social interaction and participation in games and play) 
  • Job performance 
  • Religious or cultural activities 
  • Communication management (talking over the phone, computer, etc.) 
  • Care of others/ child-rearing 

5 activities to try at home: 

Dr Laura Mraz and Social Reciprocity

1. Playing a preferred turn-taking game or playing with a preferred toy. 

Tip: Playing with a preferred game or toy will ensure your child is engaged in the activity, making it easier to facilitate conversation by providing opportunities to ask questions about the game/toy. 

Dr Laura Mraz and Social Reciprocity

2. Encouraging children to ask for things they desire before giving it to them. 

Tip: For example, if your child wants a snack have them request what they want before handing it to them. 

Dr Laura Mraz and Social reciprocity

3. Using “All about me” conversation guide. 

Tip: These are great open-ended prompts that warrant responses and facilitate a conversation with your child! 

Dr Laura Mraz and social reciprocity

4. Practicing Zones of Regulation with video clips. 

Tip: Watch short video clips of your child’s preferred shows or movies and see if your child can determine which zone the character is in and why. This helps create social awareness of different emotions, which plays a huge role in social interaction.  

Dr Laura Mraz and Social Reciprocity

5. Playing “Would you rather…?” 

Tip: Come up with two silly options for your child to choose from, making conversation fun! 


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1-S48. 

Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake (ASBC). (2018). Social Reciprocity. Retrieved from